Tofu with Crab Sauce

Tofu with Crab Sauce

As much as I believe in using fresh whole ingredients in cooking, there are times when it’s freezing outside, your stomach is grumbling, and the refrigerator is barren. I found myself in such a predicament the other day. Thankfully I was able to find a lonely pack of tofu towards the back of the fridge and a can of crab in the cupboard.

In Japan, this dish is known as tofu no kani ankake (豆腐のかにあんかけ) and makes for a quick side to a bowl of rice or a great protein packed snack on its own. Silken tofu when simmered, takes on the texture of a luscious egg custard, and the thick crab sauce adds a wonderful briny flavor without overpowering the delicate tofu.

Canned Crab

I usually get cans of crab meat at the Japanese grocery store, but they’re also sold in up-scale supermarkets stores. Fresh lump crabmeat would also work fine.

Tofu with Crab Gravy

For the dashi (japanese soup stock), you can rehydrate dashi granules according to the package directions, but I like make my own dashi. If you’re in a pinch you can always use chicken stock.

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    Tofu with Crab Sauce
  • A thick crab sauce envelopes a silky smooth piece of tofu with the texture of an egg custard. A quick side dish or snack.
ServingsPrep TimeCook Time
4 sides 2 minutes 5 minutes


Servings: sides


  1. Add the tofu to a pot then cover with water. Slowly heat until the water is gently simmering to heat the tofu through.
  2. To make the sauce, add the juices from the canned crab, the dashi, the potato starch, ginger and light soy sauce to a small saucepan. Whisk to combine then place over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil at which point it should start thickening. Once the mixture has the consistency of gravy, add the crab meat and stir to combine.
  3. To serve, use a slotted spoon to transfer the hot tofu to a bowl. Cover with the crab sauce, and garnish with mitsuba leaves or chopped scallions.
  • leaf (the indolent cook)

    Oh, the luxuriousness of the crab sauce!  The umami flavours are calling out to me.

  • Lurkerhere

    Sounds right up my alley – I’m going to try a version of this with a jar of lobster a friend cooked up and canned in a mason jar (in seawater, yum!) for me from the Iles-de-la-Madeleine here in Quebec!

  • Claudia

    This does sound good, and reminds me of a tofu creation in The Last Chinese Chef, by Nicole Mones.  He made a stock for the sauce from the shells of like 20 or so crabs, then reduced it

  • Qotu1979

    I made this last night. What a delightful tofu-rific dish.

  • Liang

    I’m a little embarrassed to ask this, but I’m new to cooking and am confused about step 1. “Add the tofu to a pot then cover with water.” Do you take the tofu out of the container and put it in a pot of water? Does the water cover the tofu all the way? And what heat should I have it on, low? I’m afraid of burning the bottom! Thank you!

    • Marc Matsumoto

      No worries, you won’t learn if you don’t ask so feel free to ask whenever you’re unsure about something. The first step simply means to remove the tofu from the package, then cover it with water so that it’s completely submerged. The idea is to heat the tofu, so the water (and tofu) will heat up faster over high heat, but if the water is boiling too violently the tofu will break apart, so you’ll want to turn down the heat a little when the water comes to a boil.

      • Liang

        Thanks! That was very helpful and I really appreciate your response. I’ll be trying it out this weekend. (BTW, I really enjoy your blog!)

  • Griffindianne00

    Last weekend, I was at my cousin’s party, where practically every kind of food was up for barbecue – beef, pork, shrimp, and some veggies. I joked that all that’s missing was barbecued tofu, and when I came home later, I thought “why not?”

    I decided to get going on that barbecued tofu idea of mine until I came across this recipe of yours – I think I’m putting off my barbecue tofu idea for the time being.  :D

  • thomasyap

    it is japanese style??

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Yep, it’s a Japanese style dish of Chinese origins called かに豆腐 (kanidoufu) in Japanese.

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I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!